ASIC Resistance is a myth

“ASIC resistance” is a myth. The author rejects that myth as do many other individuals within the ETC ecosystem.

This position statement seeks to foster confidence that decisions around ETC mining are not being guided by an easily disprovable myth, but by the application of science, measurement and facts – not subjective personal beliefs.

The Ethereum Classic project “inherited” both philosophy and implementation decisions from the Ethereum project which are in conflict with the “Immutable, Decentralized, Unstoppable” philosophy and ethos of ETC.

The first break which ETC made against such inheritance was with Monetary Policy, where the lack of a fixed cap on supply in Ethereum, while not problematic for the ETH2 (“World Computer”) project, was a huge problem for ETC (“Bitcoin with state and smart contracts”). That project needs a “hard money” basis.

ECIP 1017: Monetary Policy and Final Modification to the Ethereum Classic Emission Schedule

Getting to human consensus on the Monetary Policy change was hard, because the change was in conflict with Immutability doctrine.  Changing consensus rules in any way is very problematic to some people.

Monetary policy was seen as something where there was very broad consensus that the inherited lack of monetary policy was a major problem for ETC. Breaking immutability in that way so that immutability could be preserved with respect to monetary policy on a multi-decade basis moving forward was seen as a worthwhile tradeoff.

“ASIC resistance” is another instance of a “bad inheritance” which could be fixed so that ETC ecosystem participants can have multi-decade certainty around mining as well as monetary policy.

Ethash Design Rationale by Vitalik Buterin, Chief Scientist, Ethereum Foundation, 10th February 2015.

ASIC Resistance is Nothing but a Blockchain Buzzword by StopAndDecrypt, 8th June 2018.

The Prognosis on ProgPOW, with Kristy Minehan on BlockChannel, 10th April 2019.

“She stated that ASIC resistance was, indeed, a ‘myth’ and a ‘fallacy’, adding that Proof-of-Work required “some form of ASIC to do the work.  Text summary of the interview above by

The ETC Summit 2019 mining panel in Vancouver, Canada, 4th Oct 2019, covered this very well.

“Is ASIC resistance a myth? Aren’t GPUs ASICs too?”

Bob Summerwill, Executive Director, ETC Cooperative

“An important thing to clarify here is when you say “ASIC resistance”, those people who are for “ASIC resistance” are not against something called ASIC. They are against something which is a custom hardware which is more efficient to the hardware available to the masses, or general hardware. So, I do believe ASIC resistance in that way is futile, because there will be some custom hardware always. If you have a coin which is worth mining then somebody will find a more efficient way of mining it, whether it is ASICs or some other way, which gives them equal advantage that ASIC cannot. For example, maybe I live in a country where I have good connection to the government and can get almost free electicity. Now, I am maybe 1000x more efficient than someone, without buying any ASICs. If you are against ASICs in that way, you are just against competition”

Nishant Sharma, Head of International PR and Community Relations, Bitmain.

“I think ASIC resistance is more of a philosophy than a practical approach you can implement. If you look at things: GPUs are ASICs. CPUs are ASICs and the blockchain processes we make are ASICs. Fundamentally the philosophy behind “ASIC resistance” has been to make things products memory hard. And so, what you end up doing, is you are buying GPUs primarily to be “ASIC resistant”. You pay a lot for memory and inherently the hash rate is a lot slower. Philosophies around “ASIC resistance” are that it is widely available. You can go to AMD or NVIDIA to buy those products. But fundamentally it is not a good mining solution. You can see that in today’s world and very shortly that GPUs are not profitable and we see that as technology moves along the GPUs will be dwarfed by ASICs.”

Henry Quan, CEO, ePIC Blockchain Technologies.

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